Legendary MMA Fighter Set To Retire After ‘Fight Island’ Match
Following a career that started in 2001, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will be hanging up his gloves in 2020. “Minotauro” told MMA Fighting that win, lose, or draw, his career will end on July 25.
“I think the time has arrived,” Nogueira stated. “It’s a lot of work, several projects, the head doesn’t stop. I’ll do my things, but I’m sure I’ll adapt to not fighting anymore. It’s going to be hard [laughs], maybe I’ll have to do more yoga and meditation to get me focused on doing other things instead of thinking about fights. And I’ll be a coach, I have my team, I’ll be able to train them, so it’s okay. Maybe finding new champions will satisfy this desire or winning.”
The last bout of his career will be a trilogy bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on the fourth “Fight Island” event on July 25. It will act as the co-main event., with the main event featuring Robert Whittaker v. Darren Till. The 44-year-old Nogueira (23-9) was a PRIDE standout in the early 2000s, earning wins over Alistair Overeem, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Tsuyoshi Kosaka.
He would move around once PRIDE was no more in 2007-2008 before joining the UFC in 2009. Starting his run on a two-fight win streak, Nogueira has gone 6-6 with the promotion. Fighters he has beaten include Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, and Sam Alvey. His last bout was a knockout-loss at the hands of Ryan Spann at UFC 237 in 2019.
“Getting so close, being one of the five best in the UFC, and always being one of the three best in PRIDE,” Nogueira went on to say, “but I think I’ve done great things. Great fights. It was a great career. It’s been a great career.”
Nogueira faced Rua twice, losing to him both times. They fought in 2005 during the opening round of the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, with Rua winning via unanimous decision. It was considered one of the top bouts in MMA history with one of the best opening rounds. A rematch took place in 2015 at UFC 190. A “Fight of the Night” winner, Rua beat Nogueira once again via unanimous decision. The two were supposed to fight at UFC 250 in Brazil (at the time), but that event was postponed as a result of the coronavirus.
“Shogun and I always put on great fights,” Nogueira stated. “It was the ‘Fight of the Night’ in 2015, one of the best fights in PRIDE history in 2005. Him and I, it’s always great fights.”
“I’ve been training different things for this fight. I’ll take risks. I’ll change the strategy. I’ll be more aggressive, go for the knockout. I’ll try to surprise him more. I can’t talk about my strategy here, but I’ll try to finish this fight, for sure. A knockout or a submission.”
Nogueira has also competed in boxing. He won the Brazilian and South American Championship in 2007 and would place third in the Pan American Games in 2007.